How to Make a Toy Wooden Car With Wheels

By Jennifer Meyer
You can make toy cars from simple blocks, but shaping them looks more professional.
You can make toy cars from simple blocks, but shaping them looks more professional.

Creating your own toy car presents a fun woodworking challenge for beginners. The principle of the toy car is simple. All you need is a body, axles and wheels. However, shaping these items require some forethought and planning. You should take stock of the materials you have beforehand and draw out a plan using the measurements you wish. The end result? A unique gift for the children in your life, a toy with a true personal touch. Additionally, you have control the process every step of the way and can make sure that all the materials you use are child-safe.

Things You Will Need

  • Pencil
  • 7-by 3-by-2 ½ inch block
  • ¼-inch thick wood
  • Lathe
  • ¼-inch diameter dowels
  • Jigsaw
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Power drill
  • Sandpaper
  • Compass
  • Wood glue
  • Wood paint
  • Brush

Draw the profile of the body of your car on the block of wood. Use a pencil to do this so you can easily erase mistakes. You can use another toy car as a template or a pattern from a woodworking magazine. Otherwise, draw a 1-by-3-inch long rectangle centred on top of a 1½-by-7-inch long rectangle.

Don protective gear, including goggles and work gloves, and place the piece of wood on a jigsaw. Make sure you know the proper safety precautions for using a jigsaw by consulting its manual. Turn the jigsaw on and guide the blade along the pencil drawing. Keep your fingers out of the way.

Place marks for your wheels on the car body with a pencil. One mark should be just to the right of the cab, the other should be just to the left of it. Place the marks ½-inch up from the base of the car.

Select a ¼-inch drill bit and use a power drill to drill through the car body at the two marked points. Make the holes slightly larger than the ¼-inch dowels so the axles will be able to turn.

Draw a 1½-inch diameter circle on a ¼-inch thick piece of wood using a compass. Cut out the shape with either your jigsaw or, if you have one, a lathe. Sand the edges smooth. Use that wheel as a stencil for three more and cut them out.

Drill ¼-inch holes in the centre of each wheel.

Insert the dowel through one of the holes in the car body and slide two of the wheels on either side of it. Make a mark on the dowel where it sticks out on one side. Remove the dowel and use your jigsaw to quickly cut the dowel along that mark. Cut a second length of dowel equally as long.

Insert the dowels into the holes of the car body. Mark around the edges of the dowels with wood glue and slide the wheels on. Allow the glue to dry for 24 hours.

Sand the toy car down for a smooth finish and completely round wheels. Paint the car with wood paint, with one colour for the body and black for the wheels.

Tip

If you do not have a jigsaw and wish to take a shortcut, many craft stores sell wooden toy car bodies. The same goes for the car's wheels.

About the Author

Jennifer Meyer received her B.A. in anthropology, specializing in archeology, in 2004 from Beloit College. She then earned her master's degree in museum studies at Indiana University in 2007 after being awarded a university fellowship. She started writing in 2005, contributing podcast scripts, procedural guides and exhibit copy to museums in the Indianapolis metro area.